SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods, Inc. has acquired a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif., a maker of meat-free burgers, strips, crumbles and single-serve meals. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
|Monica McGurk, executive vice-president of strategy and new ventures, and president of food service for Tyson Foods|
“We’re enthusiastic about this investment, which gives us exposure to a fast-growing segment of the protein market,” said Monica McGurk, executive vice-president of strategy and new ventures, and president of food service for Tyson Foods. “It meets our desire to offer consumers choices and to consider how we can serve an ever-growing and diverse global population, while remaining focused on our core prepared foods and animal protein businesses.”
Beyond Meat said the investment will provide additional capital to help the company expand its product portfolio and distribution.
|Ethan Brown, c.e.o. and founder of Beyond Meat|
“This investment by Tyson Foods underscores the growing market for plant protein,” said Ethan Brown, chief executive officer and founder of Beyond Meat. “I’m pleased to welcome Tyson as an investor and look forward to leveraging this support to broaden availability of plant protein choices to consumers.”
Other investors in Beyond Meat include The Humane Society of America, Bill Gates and Kleiner Perkins, an early-stage venture capital investor.
The plant-based food and beverage market now exceeds $4.9 billion in U.S. sales, growing 3.5% since 2015 and outpacing the total food and beverage industry, said Kora Lazarski, strategic alliance manager of SPINS, a Chicago-based industry tracker. Ms. Lazarski presented the data during Expo East, which was held Sept. 21-24 in Baltimore.
The plant-based market is driven by refrigerated and frozen meat alternatives, refrigerated and frozen non-dairy beverages, tofu and cheese alternatives, which collectively account for more than 90% of sales, according to SPINS data. Smaller categories contributing growth include meat alternative dishes, other dairy alternatives, meatless jerky and snacks, and vegan mayonnaise and similar products.
Many of Beyond Meat’s products are formulated using pea protein and may be found in the frozen food aisle. One of the company’s products, called the Beyond Burger, may be found in the retail meat case.